Tuesday, December 12, 2017

12 Days of Christmas: The Christmas Tree

It's the last day of the 12 days of Christmas! I have had such a fun time sharing all kinds of Christmas tips with you through these last 12 days.  Today you will be seeing all kinds of wonderful ideas on Christmas trees.  I am going to take a tiny deviation from the norm here and tell you about one of my favorite Christmas trees.

Welcome to the third annual 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop!

Stop by every day from December first through the twelfth for new ideas you can use to make your season brighter!

Meet Your Hosts

They have all been busy as Elves creating, decorating, cooking and crafting tons of new ideas for you to try this holiday season!
 Lauren~Wonderfully Made I Vanessa~DIY 180 I Kimberly~A Wonderful Thought I Kim~Everyday Parties I Erica~Erica Ever After


When I was in high school, my mom got so excited about painting ceramics. She painted dishes, and decorations and my personal favorite: a beautiful ceramic Christmas tree with colored lights. NO one in the family liked colored lights but me, and so I really came to love this little tree with its bright spots of color.



Several years ago, my mom said that when she got the tree from its box, she noticed that the base had broken.  We search for a base, but didn't have any luck finding one.

Two years ago, when my mom decided to sell our childhood home and move to an apartment, she asked me if I would like to take the ceramic tree home. Of course, I said YES and was so excited to put it up in my new home. 

Last summer, I noticed a woman at the local Farmer's Market who was selling updated versions of the ceramic tree.  I told her about mine and the broken base, and she had me send her the measurements and lo and behold, she had one!! So now my little tree lights up (with colored lights!) in my bedroom.




The moral to this story is: keep your eyes open, your mind open and your heart open and good things will come to you! 


Be sure to visit our fellow 12 Days of Christmas Bloggers below for even more creative ideas this holiday season!
12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop 2018. Intelligentdomestications.com







Monday, December 11, 2017

12 Days of Christmas: Table Settings

I am so excited to share with you my Dining Table Christmas Table Scape with you this season.  If you have been keeping up with me, you know that this year we are spending Christmas in Cabo San Lucas. I have some big reservations about not being home for Christmas, but my family is super excited about this opportunity and I am going to love it, too!


Welcome to the third annual 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop!

Stop by every day from December first through the twelfth for new ideas you can use to make your season brighter!

Meet Your Hosts

They have all been busy as Elves creating, decorating, cooking and crafting tons of new ideas for you to try this holiday season!
 Lauren~Wonderfully Made I Vanessa~DIY 180 I Kimberly~A Wonderful Thought I Kim~Everyday Parties I Erica~Erica Ever After

So for this year, I am keeping with the theme, and I made our table scape all about Mexico!  The Margarita Santa is the feature on the table and I adore him.  He was made by the daughter of a friend of mine who lives in my neighborhood. When I saw him, I knew he'd make the perfect souvenir for the trip.  The seagull plates were purchased at Pier 1 last season.  Under the seagull plates are Pier 1's past season melamine plates. I bought one in every color, and I chose the plates that have the most beachy feel, but keeping Christmas in the forefront, too.  I hope you enjoy this tablescape, I had a blast putting it together!






What fun this will be to eat from this beachy space as we pack to head to Mexico!  The menu is delicious, too, come back on Thursday to check it out!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

12 Days of Christmas Day 10: The Holiday Porch

The front porch is always the most exciting part of the house to decorate. It is the part that tells me friends and neighbors that I appreciate them and that I am a positive participating adult in the world! I hope that my porch extends holiday greetings of the most happy kind to all who pass by!


Welcome to the third annual 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop!

Stop by every day from December first through the twelfth for new ideas you can use to make your season brighter!

Meet Your Hosts

They have all been busy as Elves creating, decorating, cooking and crafting tons of new ideas for you to try this holiday season!
 Lauren~Wonderfully Made I Vanessa~DIY 180 I Kimberly~A Wonderful Thought I Kim~Everyday Parties I Erica~Erica Ever After



I don't have a tutorial for you today, just a  walk around my porch and a little about my house.  My husband and I built our house in 2013 after downsizing and moving a city that had been our home for 20 years. It was a hard thing to do but I was ready for the change. 

The house is built in the Craftsman style, with a small wrap around porch. We are situated where we can see the lake from our porch and it is our favorite spot in the mornings. 

I did the greens myself this year!
This darling Santa has been in my family for 20 years.


We love this spot for morning coffee.

Our yellow door is a neighborhood icon.






Be sure to visit our fellow 12 Days of Christmas Bloggers below for even more creative ideas this holiday season!
12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop 2018. Intelligentdomestications.com







Saturday, December 9, 2017

12 Days of Christmas Day 9: DIY Wreath

Christmas wreaths are so much a part of the Christmas season that I cannot imagine what it looked like before they were so popular.  My all time favorite wreath is the simple evergreen wreath with a beautiful bow. They are appropriate anywhere and everywhere. The look is timeless and elegant.


Welcome to the third annual 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop!

Stop by every day from December first through the twelfth for new ideas you can use to make your season brighter!

Meet Your Hosts

They have all been busy as Elves creating, decorating, cooking and crafting tons of new ideas for you to try this holiday season!
 Lauren~Wonderfully Made I Vanessa~DIY 180 I Kimberly~A Wonderful Thought I Kim~Everyday Parties I Erica~Erica Ever After



My favorite tutorial for making your own evergreen wreath is here. Nikki walks you through the steps and has great tips for making the wreath beautiful.  The wreath is inexpensive and the wire wreath investment can be reused year after year.  What I have been doing lately is purchasing a premade evergreen wreath at a low end tree shop and then replace the cheesy bow with a homemade one.  I never spend more than $20 for my real wreath and I love the classic and elegant look.

Pick out your ribbons and make your bow. I don't make a lot of loops.
Make the number of loops you want.
Make your center loop and secure with a florist wire.
Wire the bow onto the wreath.  
Add a wire to the back of the wreath to use for hanging.
Fluff the ribbon.


Be sure to visit our fellow 12 Days of Christmas Bloggers below for even more creative ideas this holiday season!
12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop 2018. Intelligentdomestications.com






Friday, December 8, 2017

12 Days of Christmas Day 8~ Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip

Christmas cookies is what it is all about!  So how did the tradition of cookies get associated with Christmas in the first place?


It is probably no surprise to most of you that the tradition of cookies at Christmas is tied up with a winter solstice gathering to celebrate the changing of the seasons.  Since the cold had settled in, meat could be butchered and stored, the beers and ales were ready for drinking and to cut through all this savoriness, a dessert, one that could be made and stored ahead of time.  The cookie!

According to history.com, the Middle Ages had completely transitioned from winter solstice rituals to Christmas ones.  With the discovery of spices like cinnamon and nutmeg the pastry world was experiencing some dramatic changes. Sugar, lard and butter were expensive ingredients and were used by cooks during the special season.  Cookies were easily shared and given to neighbors and friends.

And did you know, the first gingerbread men were ordered by Queen Elizabeth I in the shape of her courtiers!  

Welcome to the third annual 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop!

Stop by every day from December first through the twelfth for new ideas you can use to make your season brighter!

Meet Your Hosts

They have all been busy as Elves creating, decorating, cooking and crafting tons of new ideas for you to try this holiday season!
 Lauren~Wonderfully Made I Vanessa~DIY 180 I Kimberly~A Wonderful Thought I Kim~Everyday Parties I Erica~Erica Ever After



Cookies have come a long way since those times.  The ingredients in this cookie are relatively easy to find and can be purchased inexpensively.  They are made without flour to satisfy our modern need to be gluten free.  My family really enjoyed these cookies, and I hope you do, too!



Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 c peanut butter
3/4 c sugar
1 egg
1 t vanilla
1/4 t salt
6 oz chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.  Place a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet.  Beat peanut butter and sugar together until well blended.  Add egg, vanilla and salt and beat until well incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Place one rounded tablespoonful on the cookie sheet, leaving about 2" around the cookie.  Bake 12 minutes, or until cookie has flattened and the edges are brown. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes before removing. Finish cooling on a cookie rack.

Makes 2 dz.


Be sure to visit our fellow 12 Days of Christmas Bloggers below for even more creative ideas this holiday season!
12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop 2018. Intelligentdomestications.com







Thursday, December 7, 2017

Christmas Trees on Parade 2017

Join me on a lovely parade of Christmas trees from Blogland!  You will see an amazing amount of beautiful trees, all from blogs that I love.  Each blog will offer tips for decorating a tree as well, featured in italics so it is easily found!


Decorating tip:  Put ornaments on in layers, some toward the back, some on the tips of the branches!

Last year I focused on the tree in my daughter's room and you can revisit it here.  This year, I am showing you my living room tree. This year my Christmas tree is very different than the past.  I used my same tree, but instead of pulling out all the ornaments, I chose to focus on just the ornaments that I have gathered from our various travels.  This means over 500 ornaments are very lonely and confused in our basement.  It was a hard decision, and one that I may yet change my mind about.  The reason I focused on these ornaments is that our family has decided to spend Christmas in Cabo San Lucas.  Yes, another real deviation from the norm here at our house.

Why all this change?  Our family is in that unique spot where at the moment, there aren't any young children in it, we are all gainfully employed, and this could be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to explore another culture at Christmas.  We decided to go for it, let's just hope I don't get super homesick!

Here's the tree!!


My favorite tip for decorating a tree is to make sure that it is in front of a window!  That way it becomes both inside and outside decorating!!

Here are some of my favorite ornaments:





When I select an ornament as a souvenir, I try to make sure that it is authentic to the area that it came from!  I know the first two are pretty easy to guess where they are from, but any guesses on the bottom two?


Check out the trees from around Blogland and enjoy!  Please leave a comment if you go and visit, to show your appreciation of all their work!


12 Days of Christmas Day 7 Hot Cocoa Bar

My favorite winter drink is hot cocoa!  

My day-to-day hot cocoa is a low cal Swiss Miss concoction that is fine for me during the week, but hello, weekend!  I need my hot cocoa bar to create some scrumptious recipes for indulging!


Welcome to the third annual 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop!

Stop by every day from December first through the twelfth for new ideas you can use to make your season brighter!

Meet Your Hosts

They have all been busy as Elves creating, decorating, cooking and crafting tons of new ideas for you to try this holiday season!
 Lauren~Wonderfully Made I Vanessa~DIY 180 I Kimberly~A Wonderful Thought I Kim~Everyday Parties I Erica~Erica Ever After


I set up my Hot Cocoa Bar so that anyone can create what they want for their drink.  My must haves on my hot cocoa bar are:

Indulgent hot cocoa mixes
My low cal Swiss Miss K cups
Peppermint Sticks
Dark Hershey kisses
Marshmallows
Cute candies
Also, but in the fridge:  heavy whipping cream

Then I put up some adorable mugs to choose from.  The mugs are important!  Don't slack on the mugs.


As I use up the hot cocoa mixes, I replenish them from the stash I keep in my cupboard. I usually purchase hot cocoa from specialty stores for under $2 a serving.  Make your own for a cost saving measure!

Lastly, I love to have a Chalkboard Display behind the cocoa bar. I am in love with how these look.  Excuse my board, I am not an expert but I do love making them!




Be sure to visit our fellow 12 Days of Christmas Bloggers below for even more creative ideas this holiday season!
12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop 2018. Intelligentdomestications.com





Wednesday, December 6, 2017

12 Days of Christmas~ Day 6 Christmas Games

My family loves to play games at Christmas. We will play anything from a commercial board game to a made up game right on the spot.  Games make us think, laugh and appreciate the talents of our family members!

I thought you would LOVE this round up of Christmas games that you can make or download for free.  It is fun to have these games on the ready, for those moments when things are getting a little slow.

Welcome to the third annual 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop!

Stop by every day from December first through the twelfth for new ideas you can use to make your season brighter!

Meet Your Hosts

They have all been busy as Elves creating, decorating, cooking and crafting tons of new ideas for you to try this holiday season!
 Lauren~Wonderfully Made I Vanessa~DIY 180 I Kimberly~A Wonderful Thought I Kim~Everyday Parties I Erica~Erica Ever After



Jingle Bell Toss by Playground Parkbench
Gingerbread Scavenger Hunt by Sunny Day Family
Minute to Win It Games by Happiness is Homemade
Christmas Trivia Game by Lil’ Luna
Christmas Scavenger Hunt by Stuffed Suitcase
Reindeer Roll by Growing Book by Book
20 + Christmas Games by How Does She
Christmas Party Games for the Holidays by Kid Friendly Things to Do
Christmas Game for Couples by Thriving Home
Pin the Nose on Rudolph by Pink Stripey Socks
Gift Exchange Games by A Mom’s Take
Christmas Bingo by the Crafting Chicks
Ornament Bean Bag Toss by Positively Splendid
Christmas Charades by Childhood 101
Snowman Bowling by Craftaholics Anonymous

Be sure to visit our fellow 12 Days of Christmas Bloggers below for even more creative ideas this holiday season!
      12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop 2018. Intelligentdomestications.com